Back in April, I was lucky enough to be invited to an exciting trip to Louisville, Kentucky to visit the Maker’s Mark distillery and be part of the opening of their new restaurant, Star Hill Provisions. I’m a fan of bourbon and had never been to Kentucky before, so this was an awesome experience to say “yes!” to. So, I packed my bags and made my way to the Bluegrass State for some Bourbon Trail fun. Keep reading for your very own Maker’s Mark distillery tour and to learn at which cool hotel I got to stay at during my stay.
A Flight Missed to Louisville
My adventure started with a missed flight… not. good. However, we were able to rebook me on a later flight so I wouldn’t miss all the amusing activities planned for us. When I finally made it to Louisville, I was picked up at the airport and taken to Downtown Louisville where we would stay at the 21c Museum Hotel (stay tuned for a post on this hotel perfect for all the art aficionados!). I had enough time to relax for a bit, give myself a tour of this hotel that doubles as an art gallery, shower, and head downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant, Proof on Main.
Dinner with Bill Samuels, Jr.
There we met the son of Maker’s Mark founder, Bill Samuels, Jr, while enjoying a Maker’s Mark infused dinner. It was awesome to meet him and get to know so much about the story of this family business, plus the things he did throughout the years to grow and learn, including driving Colonel Sanders around town (Yes! That same Colonel on your KFC bucket). Afterward, we made our way to a local bar, Haymarket Whiskey Bar, to mingle and enjoy even more bourbon cocktails. #TeamNoSleep
Maker’s Mark Distillery Tour
The next morning, we would embark on our way to Loretto, KY where the distillery is located. It was a beautiful ride there! Once at the grounds of the Maker’s Mark distillery, we got to meet the grandson of Maker’s Mark founder, Rob Samuels. It was a pleasure to have him as our tour guide! He showed us around the distillery and shared all sorts of delicious bourbon and bourbon treats with us. We visited the Quality Control Lab, Print Shop, Warehouse, Maker’s Mark Cellar, The Spirit of the Maker installation by glass artist Dale Chihuly, and a final stop at the gift shop. I was VERY excited to make it to the gift shop and be able to dip my very own Maker’s Mark bottle in the iconic red wax and take it home as a souvenir.
Star Hill Provisions Opening Party
The tour ended with us joining the opening celebration of their new fast-casual restaurant, Star Hill Provisions. The restaurant is led by Chef Newman Miller and offers farm-to-table dishes with locally sourced ingredients, and when possible, with produce and proteins supplied by distillery employees who operate small farms. Star Hill Provisions will also offer handcrafted, seasonal cocktails making Maker’s Mark the first distillery to also carry a liquor license! (Congrats, guys!) I fell head-over-heels for the savory sausage balls in beer cheese sauce that were specially made for the event and the equal parts refreshing and sweet Maker’s and Ale-8-One slushie. Yum!
So, if you are looking to pay Kentucky a visit, be sure to plan a day spent at the Maker’s Mark distillery learning about bourbon, dipping your very own bottle in wax, and wrapping up a day of fun with local bites and cocktails at Star Hill Provisions. Have you been to Kentucky? What was your favorite moment or discovery? I surely need to plan a trip back!